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Irish Update - 10.31.11

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Hear It From a Student - Hockey Returns To Routine

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Hockey 16.jpg

After last weekend's sweep at Bowling Green, the Irish hockey team returned to South Bend with a 5-2-0 overall record, gratitude for their new arena and a fresh feeling of normalcy. The team hits the road again this weekend to face Northern Michigan (Nov. 4-5).

"We love playing in our new facility but it's important to get some road games under our belt and recognize how to play in other buildings and atmospheres," says senior captain Billy Maday. "We've been able to practice at the Compton here for a while now so I think it'll be good for our team to once again experience the other CCHA environments a little bit more."

"Getting away from Notre Dame and then to return back to a place where it's just us and the other team is a good thing," says junior goaltender Mike Johnson. "It helps to get away from the distractions and focus on purely the games."

After constant shuffling between the Joyce Center and Compton Family Ice Arean in the early months of the season, the hockey team's new home allows for a more permanent regimen - a regimen greatly appreciated by the team.

"It took a while to get back in the swing of things," senior captain Sean Lorenz admits. "Now that we're settled in the new place, we're starting to get our energy back and the younger guys are getting into a rhythm."

A customary week for the hockey team consists of early morning workouts, daily practices, meetings and team dinners. The new arena provides the team with the amenities necessary to thrive as student-athletes, including study rooms and dining areas.

While consecutive weekends on the road at Bowling Green and Northern Michigan rid the Irish of the comfort of home, they also provide ideal time for team bonding.

"It definitely feels normal again. We're done with preseason and it feels good to get back on the road again. As a team, going on the road and getting that time to hang out with each other really sets a good tone for the games," says Johnson.

The new ice arena lends a sense of ease to underclassmen as they become familiar with the rigorous schedule demanded of student-athletes. On the other hand, it is a constant reminder to the senior class that their time here is limited.

"They built something special here," Lorenz says. "I've been to every other rink in our league and quite a few around the country. This is definitely one of the best and it makes you appreciate it that much more. The seniors from last year didn't get to experience this. We are just so lucky it was finished for us. It'll be sad to leave but we'll hopefully go out with a bang."

- Hilary Ferguson (Saint Mary's '12)

Following Flynt - Something To Cheer For

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2011 Commencement 36.JPG Yesterday, the NCAA released Graduation Success Rates for Football Bowl Subdivision schools. Of those 120 institutions, Notre Dame achieved the best marks, with 18 of 22 Irish athletic teams achieving 100 GSR scores. Notre Dame was one of only eight institutions to have at least 50 percent of teams achieve perfection.

The Notre Dame football team achieved a 97 GSR, the highest among FBS schools. Northwestern, Boston College, Duke, Rice and the U.S. Naval Academy were the only other institutions with at least 90 or higher.

In addition, both the men's and women's basketball teams were among the programs with perfect GSR scores. The hockey team achieved a 95 GSR rating, second only to Air Force.

This release from the NCAA probably comes as no surprise to most people at Notre Dame. Still, it is news that should make anyone associated with the university and athletic department proud.

The university and its rabid fan base, alumni and student body expect to contend for and win championships, and Notre Dame has, in several sports. However, football is king for many people, and a lot of fans won't be satisfied until the Irish are hoisting that crystal ball in January.

However, in the age of NCAA sanctions, player suspensions, reduced scholarships and bowl ineligibility, Notre Dame continues to do it the right way.

Notre Dame graduates its players. Notre Dame is committed to both academic and athletic excellence. And Notre Dame is not going to sacrifice its core values in the pursuit of titles, trophies and other accolades.

At Notre Dame, athletes are not just quarterbacks, forwards, shortstops, jumpers, swimmers and goalies, but future doctors, lawyers and business people, getting the job done in the classroom. They are student-athletes. Most of them will "go pro in something other than sports."

It has been quite some time since Notre Dame has even been in the discussion for a football national championship, but the Irish are slowly progressing towards those goals, and will make it back to the BCS conversation.

In the meantime, take pride in the fact that Notre Dame represents the good in college sports.

- Josh Flynt ('11)

Caption Contest

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Ever wondered how the Joyce Center snow cones are made?

Are You Experienced?

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Irish Update

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Hear It From a Student - Not a Bad Start

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Hockey 11.jpg This was the night hockey head coach Jeff Jackson must have envisioned when he promised a new hockey arena to recruits of the Notre Dame hockey program.

A raucous, sell-out crowd of 5,022 whose noise level was elevated by close confines of the new Compton Family Ice Arena. A dominating 5-2 win for an Irish program fresh off a Frozen Four appearance and ranked in the top 10 of two national polls. A hat trick from sophomore Anders Lee and a goal from senior captain Sean Lorenz.

The opening of the new arena could not have been scripted any better. While the Irish earned a decisive win over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), the night was about more than the game. It was a culmination of the rebirth of the Notre Dame hockey program under coach Jeff Jackson.

Before Jackson took control of the program in 2005, the Irish had one NCAA Tournament appearance in their history and played in a Joyce Center facility that felt like a temporary home. Also, the Irish seemed to have hit rock bottom in 2004-05 with a dismal five-win season.

Friday night showed how far the program has come since then with two Frozen Four appearances in six seasons. This turnaround eventually paid off in the construction of a state-of-the-art home. The cozy, 5,000-seat, double-deck arena left those in attendance in awe and motivated the Irish players.

"We really tried to stay focused on the game," Jackson said. "But (the atmosphere) made such a difference."

As for the game, its outcome was decided in a dominant second period performance by the Irish in which they built a 3-1 lead. Entering the period with the game tied at 1-1, the Irish outshot the Engineers 14-2, executed crisp passes and played with a physical edge.

"We were much better with the puck in the second period," Jackson said. "When our guys got on a roll, there's no question the crowd motivated them."

Lee quickly gave the Irish the lead with a goal 1:09 into second period. He found an opening by the faceoff circle and fired a shot into the back of the net for his second tally on the night.

At the 14:37 mark, Lorenz scored his second goal of the season. He momentarily lost control of the pass before regaining the puck and rifling a shot into the upper corner of the goal.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame's physical edge resulted in two penalties but the Irish managed to kill both RPI power plays.

Perhaps all the Irish needed was a home game to exorcise two disturbing early-season trends of slow starts and poor power play execution. While the Irish did not dominate the first period, they played the Engineers to a 1-1 tie. In their previous three games, the Irish were outscored 5-1 in the first period by their opponents.

At the 9:21 mark in the first period, Lee christened the Compton Family Ice Arena with its first goal on a shot from the side of the goal that found the back of the net.

Lee completed his hat trick with an empty net score 18:40 into the third period.

He could have completed the hat trick earlier on a power play in the third period.

However, his shot of the mid-air puck into the net was ruled a high sticking penalty.

Entering the night, the Irish had converted only four of 24 power plays into goals. On Friday, the Irish converted at a 33.3 percent success rate with one goal in three power play chances.

- Matt Unger ('14)

Hear It From a Student - Housewarming Party

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Hockey 4.jpg I was excited to check out last Friday's pep rally. As a lifelong Notre Dame fan it was great to see Mike Golic, Tim Brown and Mike Brey up close and in person. But I knew I had to leave early to secure tickets to the unveiling of a new, state-of-the-art facility.

I had to check out the Notre Dame hockey team as it took on Rensselaer at the Compton Family Ice Arena.

From the moment I walked into the complex I realized that the long months of construction across from the Joyce Center had been for a great cause. The arena is completely modern in every way and the atmosphere inside Compton was electric. Students, alumni, the band and the Fighting Irish players were all ready to try out the new digs.

Everywhere I looked I saw something sparkling and incredible. The Irish pub on the second floor seems too good to believe, and the poster-making stations found throughout the arena were a great idea. I've got to say, the videoboard stole the show. The combination of lights, sounds and high quality videos that the new system allowed was amazing. All of the new features had the Irish fans in the arena fired up for a big game.

Luckily enough, the Irish players delivered.

Maybe it was the energy of the crowd in the new arena. Maybe it was anger at falling a few spots in the rankings after suffering two early losses. Maybe the players were caught up in the emotion of it being "USC weekend" on campus. Whatever the reason, Notre Dame came out with the kind of determination and fire that is almost impossible to beat.

Anders Lee was a man on a mission. Lee put on a show, scoring not only the first goal in the Compton Family Ice Arena but also notching its first hat trick. The Irish were aggressive throughout the night and played with the same level of intensity that led them to a Frozen Four appearance last year. The result was a dominant performance in a commanding 5-2 victory over the Engineers.

It was the perfect way to open the new Compton Family Ice Arena. And as a series of familiar chants rocked the arena at the end of the third period, I realized it was also the perfect way to kickoff the weekend. We got to see what can happen when an inspired team performance combines with a passionate fan base.

They're both powerful forces, but when they're together they're just abut unstoppable.

- Tom McGuire ('14)

Hear It From a Student - Christening Compton

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Hockey 1.jpg Last Friday, a new era of Notre Dame hockey began as the team relocated from the Joyce Center's north dome to Compton Family Ice Arena.

The new facility is an incredible upgrade from the old and gives the top-tier team a home with quality that reflects the recent success of the program.

Playing Rensselaer Tech (RPI), the Irish put on a show for the largest hockey crowd in South Bend history - a sell-out showing of 5,022. Sophomore Anders Lee continued his scoring tear, bringing his season goal total to eight with a hat trick in the inaugural game.

Lee is tied for the most goals in the nation with Jeremy Langlois from Quinnipiac, despite playing in three fewer games.

What was most encouraging about the game, however, was the electrifying atmosphere that the new arena brought. A few kinks in the system notwithstanding, the experience was overwhelmingly superior to that of the Joyce Center. The videoboard was able to better introduce the players and provide a real-time feed for when the puck went into a blind spot of the ice.

But the real benefit of the arena was much more intangible than that. It's difficult to describe, but the difference in atmosphere is like the disparity in speed between the NFL and college football. We're at a whole new level now.

Hopefully the Irish will be able to feed off the inevitable increase in energy that will come at home. I'll be anxious to see how loud the place can get in a game that's still close during the third period. As exciting as Friday's game was, I have a feeling it can get a lot louder in that arena.

- Craig Chval ('15)

Live Chat - Hockey vs. RPI

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Notre Dame returns to action tonight as the Irish play host to the Rensselaer Engineers on at 7:35 p.m. (ET). The game will be the first-ever played at the new Compton Family Ice Arena.

Irish UNDerground will have all the angles in and around the action covered throughout tonight's game. Be sure to share your questions, comments and complaints and let your voice be heard throughout the Notre Dame nation.

Want to track all the action from your mobile device? No problem.

Simply click (or to be phone friendly, "touch") HERE.

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Event Calendar

August 9
3:00 PM
Northwestern
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
August 14
8:00 PM
SIUE
Edwardsville, Ill. (Korte Stadium)
August 14
1:00 PM
Illinois
Urbana, Ill. (Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium)
August 17
8:00 PM
Bradley
Peoria, Ill. (Shea Stadium)
August 19
7:00 PM
Wright State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
August 21
3:00 PM
Wisconsin
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
August 22
5:00 PM
Valparaiso
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
August 25
7:00 PM
Michigan
Ann Arbor, Mich. (U-M Soccer Stadium)
August 26
7:30 PM
UC Irvine
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
August 26
7:00 PM
Seton Hall
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
August 27
12:30 PM
Cleveland State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
August 27
7:00 PM
Western Michigan
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
August 28
2:00 PM
New Mexico
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
August 28
5:00 PM
Western Michigan
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
September 2
5:00 PM
Stanford
Bloomington, Ind. (Armstrong Stadium)
September 2
7:00 PM
Illinois State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
September 2
7:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
September 3
12:30 PM
Howard
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
September 3
7:00 PM
Purdue
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
September 3
All Day
Notre Dame Kickoff Challenge
Notre Dame, Indiana (Warren Golf Course)
September 4
6:30 PM
Texas
Austin, Texas

ABC
September 4
12:30 PM
California
Bloomington, Ind. (Armstrong Stadium)
September 4
5:00 PM
Missouri
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
September 9
7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
September 9
10:00 PM
Santa Clara
San Jose, Calif. (Buck Shaw Stadium)
September 9
4:00 PM
Stony Brook
Kingston, R.I. (Keaney Gymnasium)
September 10
3:30 PM
Nevada
Notre Dame, Ind.

NBC
September 10
11:00 AM
San Diego State
Kingston, R.I. (Keaney Gymnasium)
September 10
7:00 PM
Rhode Island
Kingston, R.I. (Keaney Gymnasium)
September 11
2:00 PM
Stanford
Stanford, Calif. (Cagan Stadium)
September 12
All Day
U. of San Francisco Olympic Club Intercollegiate
San Francisco, California (Olympic Club)
September 13
7:00 PM
UConn
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
September 13
All Day
U. of San Francisco Olympic Club Intercollegiate
San Francisco, California (Olympic Club)
September 16
7:00 PM
Louisville
Louisville, Ky. (Lynn Stadium)
September 16
11:30 AM
Maryland Eastern Shore
East Lansing, Mich. (Jenison Field House)
September 16
7:00 PM
Michigan State
East Lansing, Mich. (Jenison Field House)
September 17
7:30 PM
Michigan State
Notre Dame, Ind.

NBC
September 17
1:00 PM
DePaul
East Lansing, Mich. (Jenison Field House)
September 18
12:00 PM
Syracuse
Syracuse, N.Y. (SU Soccer Stadium)
September 22
7:00 PM
North Carolina State
Raleigh, N.C. (Dail Soccer Field)
September 23
7:00 PM
Syracuse
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
September 23
7:00 PM
Louisville
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
September 23
All Day
Georgia State Maui Jim Intercollegiate
Scottsdale, Arizona (Mirabel Golf Club)
September 24
3:30 PM
Duke
Notre Dame, Ind.

NBC
September 24
All Day
Georgia State Maui Jim Intercollegiate
Scottsdale, Arizona (Mirabel Golf Club)
September 25
1:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)
September 25
11:30 AM
Miami
Coral Gables, Fla. (James L. Knight Complex)
September 25
All Day
Georgia State Maui Jim Intercollegiate
Scottsdale, Arizona (Mirabel Golf Club)
September 30
7:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pa. (Ambrose Urbanic Field)
September 30
7:00 PM
Duke
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
October 1
TBA
Syracuse
East Rutherford, N.J.(MetLife Stadium)

TBA
October 1
7:00 PM
Louisville
Louisville, Ky. (Lynn Stadium)
October 2
1:00 PM
Wake Forest
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
October 4
7:00 PM
Indiana
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)

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